MONTREAL - A racing aficionado, Patrice Brisebois had a chance to live his passion at 200km/h this offseason at the Ferrari Challenge. We managed to catch up with the defenseman to find out more about his need for speed.
When did you start racing in the Ferrari Challenge? It was in 2003 at Road Atlanta. I qualified pretty far back in the group, something like 26th, but I managed to finish 18th in my first race. I did better the second time and finished 12th.
When was your first race? It was in Mont-Tremblant this summer. I raced twice that weekend and I was really in my element. I actually won one of them 12 seconds ahead of the guy who finished second and I had the best lap in both races.
What’s the competition like in the series? Honestly, the level is really good even if most of the drivers are pushing 40. There’s only a second separating the guy in first from the guy in 10th so it’s a really tight race. The only reason it isn’t considered a professional series is there’s no financial reward. It’s what we refer to as a “Gentleman Drive”. What’s your favorite course to race? There are a bunch. Mosport, Road America, Elkhard Lake. I’m disappointed, though, because I was hoping I’d get to race at Laguna Seca in California this year, but the event is only two days long so it’s not really worth the trip.
The Ferrari Challenge races take place on road courses. What do you think of racing on oval tracks like the one in Indianapolis? It’s funny, I was talking to Jacques Villeneuve the other day and he told me he thought I’d love the oval. I really love road courses, though. You really get to analyze your race and your competitor’s race to see where you’re gaining or losing ground. The oval is just as demanding, though, because you have to avoid accidents to stay in the race.
What’s your favorite F1 course? I’ve had the chance to visit a few courses, like Hungagoring, Monza, Monaco and Spa-Francorchamps. Monaco is special because it’s such a prestigious course. But, when you watch a race in Belgium and you see the speed the drivers are taking the “l’Eau Rouge” turn at, you get a much better appreciation for how much talent those guys have.
Alexandre Harvey is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis.